Welcome

Linda Morganstein is an award-winning, overeducated fiction writer who happens to be the product of a Borscht Belt childhood in the Jewish hotels of the Catskills. In the seventies, she dropped out of Vassar College and drove a VW van to California, where she lived in Sonoma County for many years. Later, she studied creative writing with Jane Smiley in Iowa. She currently resides in the Twin Cities of Minnesota with her understanding spouse Melanie and her amazing new rescue dog, Courage.

On an ironic note concerning her dropping out of Vassar: It seems that the venerable institution considers a person to be an alumna even if one never graduated. Linda discovered herself listed among the "lost" on the Alumni web site. She is now officially "found." She actually feels cozy and reborn, in the recovering the past department.

FROM LINDA:

My latest novel, GIRLS IN ICE HOUSES, will be released by Regal Crest in March, 2015.
This is the first novel I've written about Minnesota, my adopted home. I had a fantastic time researching various locals, including the Twin Cities and the Brainerd area. Stay tuned for more information and updates.

My mystery series features Alexis Pope, self-defense instructor and recovering cynic. The first of the series, Ordinary Furies, was first published in April, 2007 (Spinsters Ink, e-edition through Regal Crest). The second is Harpies' Feast (Regal Crest) and the third is On A Silver Platter (Regal Crest).

I am also proud to have written the fictional memoir of a fifties gay Hollywood actress, My Life with Stella Kane.

FLASH! Listen to my KQED public radio/​NPR reading (from MY LIFE WITH STELLA KANE) on the show WRITERS' BLOCK
You can click on the WRITERS' BLOCK icon above or get the podcast through the iTunes store.

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Mary Ann Grossman, Book Critic at the Saint Paul Pioneer-Press writes:

Borscht Belt to Grain Belt: Author's Ordinary Furies flavored with Catskills, California and life in St. Paul

"I'm an overeducated fiction writer who's the product of a Borscht Belt childhood in the Jewish hotels of the Catskills," Linda Morganstein says with a laugh. "But California's Sonoma County was my home, off and on, for 30 years."

Although Morganstein's a St. Paulite now, her debut mystery is set in Sonoma. Ordinary Furies is the first in Morganstein's series featuring self-defense instructor Alexis Pope.

Alex is grieving for her husband, who died in a parachuting accident for which she feels responsible. When her cousin urges her to take a job at a fancy resort, she jumps at the chance. Then a staff member turns up dead, and Alex is convinced the woman who's accused is not guilty. She becomes a reluctant sleuth, putting her own life in danger.

Morganstein, a part-time personal trainer specializing in exercise classes for people with medical conditions at the St. Paul Jewish Community Center, says she brings a little bit of the Catskills to the Twin Cities.

"I think there's something to my writing that is influenced by my Jewish roots, a melding of comedy and tragedy that is fundamental to the cultural writing of Jewish people," Morganstein says.

Morganstein, who's in her 50s, was surrounded by show business folks as a child. Her dad was a maitre d' at fancy hotels in the Catskill mountains in summer and Florida in winter.

"Buddy Hackett worked for my father as a busboy and his girlfriend was my babysitter," she recalls. "I sat on Red Buttons' lap and Totie Fields' daughter was my best friend when I was 12. I read lots of books on the brocade couches in the hotels' lobbies. Then I'd go to the Swizzlestick Lounge and do a cha-cha."

Morganstein won a full scholarship to Vassar College, but she left after two years to drive in a VW bus to California, where she fell in love with Sonoma County.

"It was so beautiful then," she recalls of the orchard-filled region north of San Francisco. "You could go from ocean to mountains in 30 minutes. It was a liberal hotspot that appealed to all the young feminists. Now, it's built up and housing is expensive."

Morganstein wrote fiction while earning undergraduate and graduate degrees in psychology. Thanks to a fellowship, she was able to enroll at Iowa State University at Ames, where she studied with Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jane Smiley and earned a master's in English with an emphasis on creative writing.

"Jane is an incredible teacher, one of smartest women I ever met," Morganstein says. "She told me I needed to strengthen my plot lines and get over my obsession with death and abandonment." (After Morganstein's parents divorced, her father left the family and she didn't speak to him for 25 years. They reconciled after he called her on her 50th birthday.)

Morganstein had always considered the Midwest "a place where you stopped for coffee" while driving through, so she was surprised at how much she enjoyed living in Iowa. She was fine with settling in St. Paul, where her partner Melanie Jaeb's family lives. Jaeb is a research dietician at the University of Minnesota.

Morganstein built a career as an award-winning business/​medical writer, videographer and writing consultant while also writing short fiction and poetry that was published in literary journals.

Two of her novels were shopped by her agent, and although she got encouraging feedback from publishers, nobody offered a contract.

"I had a period of discouragement then when I did a lot of video work for businesses," she recalls. "But there was something missing in my soul. I wasn't happy if I wasn't writing fiction. I decided to give it one more shot and write a mystery that could be approached on several levels. Ordinary Furies can be read on a literary level, or as a light, fun story."

Morganstein, who's certified to teach martial arts, gave that skill to Alex Pope. "I have a passion for empowering women so they can physically defend themselves," she says.
--St. Paul Pioneer Press

SELECTED REVIEWS!
Great review by Mary Ann Grossman in the Pioneer Press:
PioneerPress review

Just wanted to say I am very excited with a great review on AfterEllen.com site:
AfterEllen.com

And, one from Amos Lassen:
Amos Lassen review

Another nice review on Nann Dunne's Just About Write site:
Just About Write
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You can order from:

An exciting new source for books:
RED ROOM

AMAZON.COM

BARNES & NOBLE

BEST OF ALL, CONSIDER HAVING YOUR LOCAL INDEPENDENT BOOKSTORE ORDER THIS BOOK

SELECTED WORKS

General Fiction
The fictional memoir of a gay actress in fifties Hollywood.
Mystery
Third in the Alexis Pope mystery series.
Alex tackles teen bullying
“Sonoma County has always been a place ripe for a mystery series. Here it is.”
--Sonoma County Women’s Voices

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